Atlas of glacial lakes in Ganga basin released



Recently Ministry of Jal Shakti has released an updated atlas of glacial lakes that are a part of the Ganga basin .

Important points from the atlas:

  • The present glacial lake atlas is predicated on the inventoried glacial lakes partially of Ganga basin from its origin to foothills of Himalayas covering a catchment basin of 2,47,109 sq. km.
  • The study portion of Ganga basin covers a part of India and transboundary region.
  • The Atlas is available on Bhuvan portal of National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO, India WRIS Portal and National Hydrology Project (NHP) web site of Department of Water Resources (DoWR).
  • The Department of Space & Chairman, ISRO also launched the NHP –Bhuvan portal of NRSC.
  • The National Hydrology Project or NHP-BhuvanPortal may be a repository of data on the initiatives undertaken by NRSC under NHP with a facility to download the reports and knowledge products being developed by NRSC.
  • National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Hyderabad together of the Implementing Agency under the National Hydrology Project (NHP).
  • It is completing hydrological studies using satellite data and geospatial techniques.
  • Previously an updated inventory of glacial lakes using high resolution satellite data was prepared for the Indus basin and published in December 2020.
  • In the present study, glacial lakes with water spread area greater than 0.25 ha are mapped using Resourcesat-2 (RS-2) Linear Imaging Self Scanning Sensor-IV (LISS-IV) satellite data using visual interpretation techniques.
  • Based on its process of lake formation, location, and sort of damming material, glacial lakes are identified in nine differing types , majorly grouped into four categories.
  • A total of 4,707 glacial lakes are mapped within the Ganga basin with a complete lake water spread area of 20,685 ha.

what are the expected utility of the atlas is:

  • The atlas provides a comprehensive and systematic glacial lake database for Ganga basin with size > 0.25 ha
  • In the context of global climate change impact analysis, the atlas are often used as reference data for completing change analysis, both with reference to historical and future time periods
  • The atlas also provides authentic database for normal or periodic monitoring changes in spatial extent (expansion/shrinkage), and formation of latest lakes
  • The atlas also can be utilized in conjunction with glacier information for his or her retreat and climate impact studies.
  • The information on glacial lakes like their type, hydrological, topographical, and associated glaciers are useful in identifying the potential critical glacial lakes and consequent Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) risk.
  • Central and State Disaster Management Authorities can make use of the atlas for disaster mitigation planning and related program.


The Ganga river system outspreads in India, Tibet (China), Nepal and Bangladesh. It is the largest river basin in India and accounts for about one-fourth of the total area of the country. It covers states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Delhi.

The Ganga River System

The total length of the Ganga is about 2,510 km. The river basin is bounded by the Himalayas on the north, by the Aravalli on the west, by the Vindhyas and Chhotanagpur plateau on the south and by the Brahmaputra Ridge on the east. The river is a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. From time immemorial, Ganga has been the holiest river of the Hindus. It is thus also a culturally important river of India.

Ganga River System




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